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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > March 2019 > The FAST approach to LOSING WEIGHT

The FAST approach to LOSING WEIGHT

The latest diet book from BBC Two’s Trust Me I’m A Doctor presenter Dr Michael Mosley has provoked a renewed interest in fasting. Is this really the best method for safe and effective weight loss? HFG dietitian Juliette Kellow investigates…

MENTION TO A HEALTH PROFESSIONAL THAT YOU FANCY TRYING FASTING TO LOSE WEIGHT and the chances are you’ll be told it’s a ‘fad diet’ and one to avoid – that is, until now. Increasingly, dietitians and doctors are recognising that fasting may offer a suitable solution for some people with inflated waists.

The latest diet book from Dr Michael Mosley – The Fast 800 (see p23) – has refocused attention on this approach. Michael is largely credited with bringing the idea of fasting for weight loss to the UK. His first book, The Fast Diet, written with Mimi Spencer, introduced the idea of intermittent fasting, known as the 5:2 diet. Six years on, Michael is still a big fan of fasting, and his latest book includes elements of the 5:2 way of eating. So is fasting really the answer to losing weight?

The theory of fasting

The concept isn’t new. Our hunter-gatherer ancestors were probably exposed to lengthy periods when food was in short supply, replenishing their stores when it was more plentiful. Ancient philosophers such as Hippocrates and Plato reportedly recommended fasting for health and healing. And, of course, fasting is an important part of some religions. For example, as part of the Muslim faith, believers fast between sunrise and sunset in the month of Ramadan. In more recent years, though, fasting has been linked with shaping up and slimming down.

In particular, it’s intermittent fasting that’s taken the weight-loss world by storm – when periods of normal eating are interspersed with short periods of food restriction (and therefore drastic calorie reduction). Advocates of intermittent fasting suggest that constantly switching calorie intakes prevents changes in our metabolism that cause weight loss to slow down and even stop – known as hitting a weight-loss plateau.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Should you try the latest fasting diets? Our dietitian examines their effectiveness for weight loss and better health and helps you pick the one for you. Our healthy kitchen makeover will get you in the zone for easier healthy cooking, with an ingredients checklist, storecupboard recipes, plus tips from Marie Kondo and Aggie MacKenzie. And inspiring stories for facing fitness phobias will get you into the pool, gym or class – and loving it.